Saturday, 1 June 2013

Cast away

I've always loved Radio 4. Loved it. Runs in the family. I was practically weaned on it. I was listening to Desert Island Discs the other day (I say listening, it was more 'struggling to hear over the incessant questions and fights and accidents...) and automatically started trying to choose the eight songs I'd take with me if I were cast astray. Turns out it's not as easy as it seems. I'd caveat these choices with the note that there were a lot of discs that only just missed the cut, and if you asked me to write this list again next year, or even next week, it'd probably be different, but nonetheless, here they are, my Desert Island Discs...

1) The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. Like Radio 4, I was weaned on Simon and Garfunkel. My mum was a massive fan, and I probably first heard this song in the womb. It will forever remind me of the long drive up to see my grandparents in Nairn, singing harmonies (admittedly not that harmoniously) with mum and my sisters.

2) Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Andy Williams. This was the first dance at my wedding, largely because my then-fiancé, loved singing his own lyrics along to the chorus... 'I love you, Aaaaaaa-mmmmy, da da da daa daa da da da, Aaaaaaa-my, blah blah blah'. Will always and forever make me smile, even if I can't ever remember the real words.

3) Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. This became the theme song of the first magazine I ever worked on in London. We were a new launch, all thrown in together, working (and playing) hard to make it a success. It was, by the way, and we had a lot of fun doing it!

4) Graceland by Paul Simon. Quite simply, the best song from the best album ever written.

5) Mr Brightside by The Killers. Impossible not the dance to, and I plan on dancing a lot on my little island with no one there to tell me to stop.

6) Cello Suite No. 1 by JS Bach. The greatest piece of music ever composed. On my island, I'd be so far from home, but this music has the power to lift me up to the skies. Soul-movingly beautiful.

7) Horny by Mousse T. OK, so perhaps a leap from Bach, but this song recalls Kavos in 98. Me, my best mate, sun, sand, ouzo, oh so much ouzo... and the best girls' holiday ever. And, you know, I'm going to be cast away without my husband. A woman has needs...

8) Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by my daughters (and Mozart). Bit of a cheat here, but if someone is banishing me across the sea, I can at least demand that they record my babies all singing together. They all love to sing and dance, and no other recording could ever capture that for me. To me, their crazy, shouty version is the best!

Book. So, Radio 4 give you the Bible, and the Complete Works of Shakespeare, which would keep me pretty busy, but this is a tough one. Although I don't get nearly enough time to do it these days, I love to read. But is it wise to take a trusted classic I'd read again and again, like Pride and Prejudice or East of Eden, or risk something new that I will keep me busy on the long, lonely days? I've agonised over this one, but in the end, I've decided that if I don't find time to read on my island, I never will, so I'd take a book I just never seem to get round to getting into, but know I'll love. Les Misèrables by Victor Hugo.


Luxury item. I always imagined that this would be a bed. I love sleeping. A firm mattress, clean, fresh sheets, snuggling down after a hard day's fishing or swimming or generally pottering around my island... Bliss. But motherhood has changed me. Although my girls are in my head forever and always, I'd like a photograph album full of them, my husband, my family and my friends. If I can't have them in person, I'll need the memories.

And finally, if a storm swept my new home, and I could only rescue on precious disc, which would I grab from the waves. This is almost impossible. A world where I never hear Paul Simon's voice again seems wrong, and the lose my girls singing would be heart-breaking. But in the end, I know I wouldn't need a record to hear them. They are always in my head. I just can't imagine living without hearing Bach again. I'd save the cello suite and use it to transport me to another world, high above my little island.

So, there you go, my Desert Island Discs. I'd love to hear yours!!